The very concept of packaging instant noodles in plastic is baffling to me. The noodles take barely 5 minutes to cook, and another 5 minutes to eat… but the plastic packaging takes nearly a century to biodegrade. Sounds really odd, doesn’t it? Well, for Holly Grounds, a product design graduate from Ravensbourne University London, it seemed like a problem that definitely deserved fixing. Grounds’ clever little solution eliminates plastic and replaces it with something much more sensible… an edible, water-soluble gelatinous skin that actually turns into the noodle broth when dipped in water.
The Dissolvable Noodle Packaging finds a unique, no-waste packaging solution for instant-ramen. Instead of wrapping the noodles in layers of plastic (with an extra plastic sachet filled with the tastemaker powder), Holly decided to develop an edible, spice-infused biofilm to package the noodles in. When you want to cook yourself some ramen, just insert the pre-packaged noodle-cake into hot water and the biofilm dissolves in the water, turning it into a flavored broth! “The packaging becomes the sauce”, says Holly, who managed to design and develop her solution right in her own kitchen! The biofilm uses simple, edible ingredients like potato starch, glycerin, and water. “The ingredients are blended and heated until the mixture is at the right thickness. At this point, I add the spices and flavorings before pouring it into a mold to set for 24 hours”, Holly mentions.
Here’s a look at the biofilm that’s been pre-seasoned with spices and garnishes. In its pliable state, the film can easily be wrapped around a cake of noodles, allowing it to set and harden as the film dries out.
It’s worth noting that this solution translates perfectly onto packaging for other products like rice or even pasta! The biofilm can easily be seasoned with spices and powders, sort of turning the packaging into the product’s flavoring. In a way, it also replaces the need to use labels and graphics on product packaging. With Holly’s Dissolvable Noodle Packaging, you can quite literally see the ingredients like sesame seeds, chili flakes, and seaweed strips in the packaging, allowing you to visually judge and differentiate between different flavors!